published on September 29, 2016 - 10:38 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Authorities have arrested a man they believe started the Cedar Fire that has burned more than 29,000 acres in the Sequoia National Forest since Aug. 16.

Angel Gilberto Garcia-Avalos, 29, of Michoacan, Mexico, was charged in a criminal complaint with causing the Cedar fire that continues to burn in Kern and Tulare counties. He was also charged in two separate counts of making false statements to U.S. Forest Service officers.

The complaint alleges that the Cedar Fire started on Aug. 16, when Garcia was driving off-road in the Sequoia National Forest. As he was driving on an unimproved dirt road off of Highway 155, the complaint alleges his car got stuck while attempting to drive over a berm and rolled back, hitting a tree. The muffler and catalytic converter of the vehicle then sparked dead grass, causing the fire near the Cedar Creek Campground, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The complaint also alleges that Garcia lied to Forest Service law enforcement officers on the day the fire started, saying his vehicle had been stolen after he parked it on the side of Highway 155. He lied again when questioned two weeks later, according to authorities.

If convicted, Garcia faces a maximum statutory penalty of six months in custody and a $5,000 fine for each count. He may also be ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Forest Service for the costs of the fire. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court.

e-Newsletter Signup

Our weekly poll

What is the single-biggest reason for a spike in violent crime in Fresno?

Loading ... Loading ...

Central Valley Biz Blogs



Article views


Sign up icon

To continue website access to

please create a FREE account OR login here.


Article views


For only $59 for one 1-year you will receive the Print edition along with EVERYTHING The Business Journal has to offer digitally, PLUS you will have unlimited 24- hour a day access to view articles at

Use Promo Code

*New Subscribers Only

Digital and Print

XX Days Remaining

until you can view 5 more free articles

Sign up icon

Want access? Subscribe now & save $20 OFF.

Use Promo Code